Rights & Responsibilities


I met a National Park Ranger at the entrance of Teton National Park a few summers ago.  The road upon which I was attempting to enter the park was closed due to grizzly bear activity and there was no traffic behind me.  After he advised me of my re-routing options, I asked him about the people he encounters during the summer season.  He said he could divide park users into two groups.  Those that talked about their rights.  The right to a camping spot on a busy weekend; the right to light a fire while a campfire ban is in place; the right to get as close to wildlife as they pleased.  The other group talked about their responsibility.  They inquired about how to best enjoy their time in the park, what precautions they should consider, or where they could safely enjoy spotting wildlife.

It seems that there is a debate right now, a tussle over rights and responsibilities.  One of the great strengths of the social sector is its focus on responsibilities.  There are many people advocating for those in need and their case for support traces back to doing the responsible thing.

Does your cause spend more time talking about rights or responsibility?  I would argue that this question alone tells us a lot about the motivation of one’s enterprise.

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